I said it before in my blog post called “Public Taste”, people are strange and the internet is a funny place. This picture of a kid packing bags was posted, supposedly on Tumblr. It was forwarded by a guy on Twitter @auscalum and just went crazy viral.
In a 12 hour period from last Sunday the meme went ballistic. By Sunday evening Alex realised that he was famous. @auscalum has come under attack from people who hate what he posted, and won plaudits from those who love the meme. Teenage girls seem particularly into Alex from Target.
He was invited onto the Ellen DeGeneres show.
A marketing company (I refuse to reward them by giving their name) claimed they invented the meme. When challenged they changed the story to say they had promoted the meme amongst teen fan girls. They claimed to have done this to show their ability to sell this service. They can’t seem to back up this claim with hard stats. It all looks like jumping on the bandwagon.
Various advertisers are using the meme to promote themselves for Christmas. Target has operated in a remarkably subtle way, having the sense to let the meme do the work without them running the risk of making a mistake by engaging in a trend they don’t understand. Other companies are trying to promote hot young guys who work for them “me too, me too”. You can buy an Alex from Target outfit, there will probably be an action figure if this continues.
For many it is a joke, for others a marketing opportunity, some seek fame through association (you can even accuse me of that!) and the haters use it as an excuse to be rude and nasty to complete strangers. Welcome to the weird and wonderful Internet!
Alex from Target needs to move very fast to harness the opportunity. He can be anything in the next four weeks, rockstar, author, vlog superstar, pointless celebrity. Being an internet meme is like finding a seam of gold in your back garden when you are planting flowers. You don’t just cover it over and forget it is there. Astoundingly his approach on the Ellen show? “Just let me pack bags and finish school!” Carpe Diem Alex from Target, grasp that opportunity! Hire an agent. You will never see another opportunity like this one. You won’t be called to the dinner table twice.
And @auscalum, you need to do the same!
Fame is a fickle food; by Emily Dickinson
Fame is a fickle food
Upon a shifting plate
Whose table once a
Guest but not
The second time is set.
Whose crumbs the crows inspect
And with ironic caw
Flap past it to the Farmer’s Corn –
Men eat of it and die.